Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski wants the government to coordinate efforts to replace ammonia refrigeration systems in public rinks with safer carbon dioxide systems.
Stetski’s efforts to have ammonia refrigeration phased out comes after three workers lost their lives on October 17 at a public arena in Fernie, B.C. Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alberta, lost their lives due to an ammonia leak at the municipal arena.
“My heart goes out to the families of these workers who died and to the citizens of Fernie,” Stetski said in a statement he read at the House of Commons. “It’s estimated that there are over 3,700 ice arenas and curling rinks in Canada and that 65 per cent of them use ammonia as their refrigerant.”
Since 2007, there have been over 50 ammonia leaks in Canada, many resulting in injuries and deaths. Carbon dioxide systems offer a safer and more efficient alternative.
“Our most important role as Members of Parliament is to keep our citizens safe. I call on the federal government to work with the provinces to help municipalities phase out of ammonia based systems to ensure there are no more tragedies like the one suffered by the people of Fernie,” said Stetski.